Glacier Features: Ogives

Ogives are alternating bands of light and dark ice that form on some glaciers just below icefalls. The ice flows faster down the center of the glacier, forming ridged arcs of ice that bend downstream.

Historic photograph of Mer De Glace Glacier, France, 1902Ogives form on the surface of Mer De Glace Glacier as it flows through the mountains of France. —Credit: Photograph by Harry Fielding Reid. 1902. Mer de Glace Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media.

Photograph of Mer De Glace Glacier, France, 2009This photograph of Mer De Glace Glacier was taken more than 100 years later, in 2009, and shows that ogives remain beneath the debris cover. —Credit: Richard Jones

Historic photograph of Arolla Glacier, Switzerland, 1902Ogives form on the surface of Arolla Glacier, Switzerland, after it flows over a steep section of the landscape. —Credit: Photograph by Harry Fielding Reid. 1902. Arolla Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media